Frankie V’s Prediction: Notre Dame v. Stanford ’16

Deshone Kizer - Notre Dame QB
Photo: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame returns to action this week after falling to 2-4 last week thanks in large part to an inexplicable game plan from Brian Kelly.  Has the Irish been able to eek out a victory in hurricane conditions they’d be sitting at 3-3 with back to back wins and facing a reeling Stanford team coming off back to back blowout losses.  Instead two pre-season top 10 teams whose playoff hopes were obliterated already will both be looking to get their seasons back on track against each other.

While Notre Dame’s disastrous 2-4 start is one of the most shocking turns of events this season, Stanford’s back to back blowout losses is right up there.  The Cardinal have lost the last two weeks by a combined score of 82-22 with a 44-6 loss to Washington and then a 42-16 loss to Washington State.

So, which of 2016’s biggest disappointing teams will get the better of the other tonight?

How’d I Do Last Week?

The weather worried me last week but I never thought it would be that bad and never thought they would actually play a game of football in such weather.  My original prediction called for a high scoring game before the forecast got progressively worse and worse as game time drew near.

Aside from the weather, ball security and the Notre Dame running game concerned me last week and both were huge issues for the Irish and contributed to the loss.  Justin Yoon, to his credit, was listed as a concern after a couple rough outings, but the sophomore nailed a 40 yarder in the worst conditions he may ever kick in.  It will be tough to find A more impressive kick.

What Concerns Me This Week

  • Stanford finding its offense.  Even with Christian McCaffrey out, the Stanford offensive line reeling, and the Cardinal offense stuck in neutral, it still scares me that they could “find” their offense tonight in Notre Dame Stadium against the Irish defense.
  • What a loss would mean for Notre Dame.  If Notre Dame loses tonight, a bowl game is pretty much gone if not already.  Notre Dame can build some positive momentum into the bye week with a win, but a loss and this team likely spirals like 2007.  A win and maybe, just maybe we see a 2010 style turnaround.
  • Midterms.  Notre Dame never plays well after midterms.

What Doesn’t Concern Me This Week

  • Deshone Kizer bouncing back. Kizer had an awful game statistically speaking last week but who the heck could have had a good day passing in those conditions?  Kizer bounces back big time tonight against the Tree.
  • The Stanford offensive line.  Stanford’s given up 11 sacks the last two weeks.  That’s not a typo.  ELEVEN.  Washington got to Stanford 8 times and Washington State, a team that had 3 sacks on the season before last week picked up 3 sacks of their own.  If Notre Dame can’t rush the passer this week, it’s safe to assume they might not all season.
  • The weather. Cloudy skies in South Bend this weekend, but there is just a 5% chance of rain at any time throughout the game.  A week after playing in a hurricane the Irish passing attack won’t have to deal with torrential downpours and howling winds.
  • Christian McCaffrey.  Stanford will be without their star running back for tonight’s game.  Even though he wasn’t as effective as he’s been the last two weeks, you know he would have had a game against Notre Dame had he been able to suit up.  That offense runs through McCaffrey. If there was ever a time for Notre Dame’s defense to get things turned around it could be tonight.

Players to Watch

  • Sam Mustipher – Look for Mustipher to bounce back after his rough week against NC State.  Mustipher has been great all season long before having to snap the ball in the shotgun repeatedly in a hurricane.  He’ll bounce back.
  • Josh Adams – Is Adams suffering a sophomore slump or is he playing at not quite 100%?  He looks much more tentative and unable to break tackles compared to a year ago.  Adams had the best game of his career against Stanford last year and this year’s Cardinal D is not nearly as good as last year’s.  Can he get back on track tonight?
  • Equanimeous St. Brown – Expecting the sophomore to pick up right where he left off against Syracuse with another big game for the Irish.
  • Nyles Morgan – Even with McCaffrey out Stanford will try to run the ball on the Irish.  Why wouldn’t they?  Morgan needs to be on top of his game this week.  Last week he tried to deliver the knockout punch too many times instead of wrapping up.  He can’t do that this weekend.
  • Tony Pride Jr – The freshman played extensively against Syracuse and then rode the pine last week.  Will he get back on the field?
  • Greg Hudson – Keeping him on the list again this week.  This is the type of game where attitude can make the difference and he’s been fun to watch on sidelines.  He’sbeen able to get his players fired up and the players at least appear to be responding to him.

Prediction Time

All week long I planned on picking Stanford to win this game following last week’s debacle, but while last week I had to convince myself into picking Notre Dame, this week I am finding myself have to convince myself to pick Stanford.  They just really are not very good this year.  Their offensive line is in a shambles, their defense has been under fire the last two weeks, and they will be playing without their star running back.  Add it all up and it’s hard to pick against Notre Dame in this one even with all of the problems the Irish have of their own.

Notre Dame has the kind of offense that can put up points on Stanford and the patchwork Irish defense should be able to at least be adequate against a Stanford offense that has struggled to do much of anything the last two weeks.  This game could still go either way though as Notre Dame has not done much to instill confidence as it sits at 2-4.

I will probably regret this prediction but I regret most of my predictions this year so what the hell.

Prediction: Notre Dame 36, Stanford 35

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50 Comments

  1. Teams assume an identity that is reflective of its coaching ( as an example just look at the difference in Ann Arbor between Hoke and Harbaugh). This team seems like it has given up and gone south for the winter. Kelly seems that way too. He appears to have given up and I think he should strongly consider whether he should leave now or by the end of the season. He doesn’t even look like he enjoys coaching this team anymore. The unfortunate thing is, no marquee ” high profile is coach is going to come here (BJ, are you hearing this?)regardless of money. ND is not going to let in droves of less than stellar academic performing student athletes that football factory schools will admit and therefore, they are not going to come, it’s uneven playing field. I see a team resembling past teams coached by GF, BD, TW, and CW. The team from a fan perspective looks disinteresting. I have been reluctant to advocate calling for BK to be replaced but I now see myself on that path. When a change does come, whether Kelly leaves or is encouraged to go be successful somewhere else, the decision on his replacement is going to be HUGE! I don’t know who is out there that can right the ship. I was around to watch Ara, Dan D, and Lou coached teams. It’s real hard not to compare current ND versions to their teams ( yes I know the era’s are different, I get that). I am worried ND brand of football is sliding into a black void of obscurity, a pit of irrelevance. How did the ND Admin let this happen to a once powerful brand of football. To me, they accountability for this too. I don’t think this team is going to win another game this year. I see bad debacles coming up with Miami, VT, and even USC. I am not optimistic on beating either of the service academies ( Holy Jesus, Joseph and Mary, did this Catholic guy just say that!). I guess I have nothing further to add that others on here haven’t already said about the current status of ND football.

  2. Really bad qb play tonight. Can’t blame defense or in my opinion, Kelly, for this one. Kiser looked like crap passing most of the night so going to Zaire for a couple series I thought was ok. Zaire looked even worse and Kelly put Kizer back in for the last series. And he leads us down to the red zone then promptly takes a sack instead of throwing the ball on time or throwing it away. Then the last down was worse and tries to run for the TD instead of staying behind the line to extend the play. Not sure if all this pro talk has gone to his head but he hasn’t been playing well as of late. Tonight I noticed happy feet in kizer for the first time. I usually don’t see him bouncing around back there and usually he has the ball out on time. Something is in his head. I know the season is over for the team but he is playing for his draft stock and man is it going down.

    1. No one.

      BK is “Mr. Teflon.” Nothing sticks to him.

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but BK isn’t going anywhere. I agree he should be fired. It won’t happen unless things get much worse.

      As for bj’s incessant calls for elite coaches leaving their current jobs or Miles getting hired, that’s just wishful thinking even if BK were hired.

      The best ND could do is perhaps Dantonio or Fitzgerald. I just don’t know if these men are really good enough to make a difference.

      Bottom line is ND football needs to do some serious soul searching. The ND administration needs to decide if football is going to continue to be a key part of the university’s fabric.

  3. When was the last time the #1 QB in the NFL Draft got benched in favor of a clearly inferior backup for throwing a couple of picks, one of which being in desperation on 4th and long while being up on the scoreboard with a sieve of an OL?

    1. Sometimes the media makes these guys #1 picks and hands them a heisman trophy a bit prematurely (Fournette, Mayfield, etc.) They do these guys NO FAVORS when they pull that crap.

      Bruce GC 77′ 82′

      1. I was really just trying to emphasize the fact that Kizer should not have been benched, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that was not the reason for the loss. No matter what happened in the first 55 minutes of the game, everyone knew it would all boil down to the last drive. And as usual, the offense could not get it done. I do like Kizer, but he really has to start actually winning some games. He is not a clutch player at all. And we’re not exactly playing world beaters here either. But yes, I completely agree with what you’re saying.

    1. Like when I agree with you on other matters, you mean?!

      Tell me what evidence you have we can get any of those names?! Please. Just one bit of sane argument as opposed to endlessly repeating yourself.

      How many times did Urban have a chance to come coach at ND? Tell me why he would now?

      Please, stop the name calling and make a case for your argument that any of those coaches are logical choices.

      The only one possible is Dantonio. But he’s just a guy. How’s MSU doing? How did they do in the POs last season?

      Please stop the childish name calling and instead substantiate your ideas.

      1. I have to agree SFR. BJ is leaving in a dream land. Why would someone like Meyer or Saban leave for ND. They are coaching in CFB heaven. They can have anything they want right where they are at. All that would happen if ND tried going after those guys is a door in the face, and to top it all the media would love headlines like ND Gets Denied Again, and other schools would use that on recruits to say ND is a has been.

        Really, their best bet is to find an up and coming coach that still has a lot to prove. A Tom Herman-like coach who may be the next elite coach. That, I believe, ND can do. I forget who pointed it out, but many of ND’s elite coaches of the past were not elite before coming to ND. Maybe ND doesn’t need to find an already elite coach.

  4. BK obviously realizes the season was over a long time ago, but I am surprised he isn’t still trying to win games anyway.

    1. No points in the second half. Only 10 points all game against a weak Stanford D.

      Couldn’t beat the worst Stanford team in thirty years. At home. Without their Heisman hopeful and best player.

      What else can I say?

      Perhaps Duranko can tell us about how great the Four Horsemen were. Perhaps we can get more irrelevant drivel from the excuse makers.

      Southie can always find his Rosary to pray for the “Debbie Downers.” After all, we must be sinners for not seeing how great BK and this team are.

      I just want ND to find a way to beat Miami. I don’t care how. However, I just don’t see how it can happen.

  5. So who do you all want for next head coach? I was thinking d’antonio but MSU stinks but he usually has a hard nosed team with mainly 3 star recruits

    1. That’s about as good as ND can do. That means ND is done. You can’t win with coaches like that.

      I’d prefer a young coach rather than a retread.

    2. What a sad joke!

      This is beyond pathetic.

      This program is worse today than it was under CW. That’s unbelievable.

      Just beat the damned Hurricanes!!!

      1. None of these men are leaving their jobs for ND.

        Stop it all ready throwing out these same names over and over.

        Stop fantasizing!

    1. Not that I’m advocating gambling, but if someone wanted to male a lot of money simply pick against every Frankie V. prediction!

  6. I’m starting to feel like last week’s hurricane played a smaller role than people wanted to believe. This is a joke. If I was Kizer I’d quit.

    1. Can’t even beat one of the most Stanford teams in the last thirty years! At home! Without its best player!
      Wow!

      Isn’t it amazing how utterly silent the BK apologists are these days. When they chime in it’s with stupid poetry or some other nonsense.

  7. It’s so clear that swarbrick should be canned. He picked a guy that could win at the small college level it was never the man with the experience in the big leagues, he picks a gut that is devoid of inspiration. He picks a guy with a bad personality and is unable to gain the respect of his players. Year after year discipline problems, penalties and indifferent interest. It’s hard to watch this garbage year after year. Swarbrick focused on the money, real estate, tv, uniforms, money venues, pussy schedule, under armour licensing, artificial turf. The team has no soul any more it’s a marketing vehicle for his commercial interests. Get rid of him and find a ad with souls and a coach with souls brains and the Lombardi drive. It’s not Kelly.

    1. Season is over anyways.

      Watching ND football is now like rubber-necking at a massive crash. This is a train wreck of a season and program.

      1. Season was over a long time ago

        Stanford got completely manhandled and embarrassed by lowly Washington freaking State. ND has no business in FBS.

  8. Kizers second pick on 4th down was irrelevant. No reason to bench the guy. Get your OL going and you probably don’t have to worry about 4th and longs. Zaire is useless.

    1. They were up 10-7. The team feels like they are losing when he pulls the qb (who happened to be projected as top qb in the draft). Makes no sense. We saw Zaire against TX.

      1. BK wants to experiment with Zaire during crunch time of the Stanford game. He apparently doesn’t feel like winning is a priority.

    1. The whole programs is atrocious, George. Not just Mustipher.

      My guess is ND loses this one.

      If so, the season is now officially done. The only thing that will remain to be seen is what happens to BK if anything. If he stays it’s all about money. If he stays he’ll have to work hard to keep this solid recruiting class together. Most recruits by now know BK may not be around by the time the age it to campus.

  9. BK was correct about the center being atrocious. The entire line is garbage. Glad to see Kizer doing his part with a pick 6. I knew we could count on him.

    1. This team is just so poor.

      Kizer is so overrated.

      BK just stinks.

      They may well not win another game playing like this.

      All the false enthusiasm is wearing off. Teams can’t manufacture that.

      So much for the bounce back, BK

    2. I bet BK throws Kizer under the bus after this one!

      Of course his play calling and coaching remain untouchable and brilliant as always.

      Who needs schematic advantages when we have BK’s uptempo O. Remember that one?!

      1. SFR,
        But when the defense gave us a last possession, and a last chance to tie the game, or win it, WE DID NOT USE TEMPO! We substituted two guys in and two out on every play, all while the clock ran! Amazing!

        Bruce GC
        La Crosse, Indiana

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